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Rigo 23

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Through The Glassworks

In 2017, the building known as The Glassworks on Mill Bay was still the home of a Sixth Form Centre, with many of its students following a thriving arts curriculum. At the invitation of the Head Teacher, the Triennial that year commissioned artist Rigo 23 (born Ricardo Gouveia) to enliven the walls around the school’s entrance.

One of the resulting murals, Through The Glassworks, was intended by the artist as a long term participatory ‘canvas’ for student talent: an invitation and inspiration to the students at Centre to make their mark on Folkestone’s cultural landscape. The painted billboards in the landscape (initially carrying the title double edge) were intentionally left as an open space for student self-expression, to be re-painted twice each year with the co-operation of the teaching staff. In 2018 the Sixth Form Centre unexpectedly moved its premises.

 

Earth’s Oldest Satellite

When researching the surroundings of The Glassworks Sixth Form Centre, Rigo 23 was struck by the number of immigrant families living on Tontine Street and the immediate vicinity, and by the level of aspiration that the children from these families shared with the students of the school. The moon continues to appear - in government sponsored science as much as in popular culture and dreams - as a symbol of aspiration. Earth’s Oldest Satellite questions the nature and value of aspiration through creating a sense of physical or cosmic disorientation, reminding us that earth’s closest planetary neighbour is as often ‘beneath our feet’ as it is ‘over our heads’.

Rigo 23 is known for publicly placed artworks that encourage viewers to examine their relationships to their communities – specific in terms of site and culture – often in collaboration with others and over extended periods of time. Collective memory and markers of time are central concerns within his broad focus of world politics and the respectful telling of truth to power. In California where he lives, he has been involved with supporting the narratives both of the Black community and of marginalised Indigenous communities.

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